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As the old saying goes, "if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail." This is often used for many scenarios in life, whether that's before an exam, a presentation or just day-to-day life itself. It can also be applied to deck design, however. As failing to prepare a new deck sufficiently, will only lead to far greater problems later down the line.

When it comes to installing a new deck in your garden, the planning and design phase is probably just as, if not more important than the actual installation. With so many variables to account for, such as the number of deck boards required, fittings and fixtures such as screws and clips and how best to utilise the space you have in your outdoor area, there is huge room for error. By precisely planning your deck, you minimise the chances of things going wrong, leading to a smooth and easy deck build, something that every homeowner would want! 

So, how do you go about planning a deck project? TimberTechUK are here to tell you! 

plan a deck

 

Planning your deck project 

For the planning of your deck project, there are several things that you'll need to consider. The first of these is where in your garden is your deck going to be located. This may not seem like a particularly important issue but trust us, it is. Knowing the optimal location for your deck may be the most important part of the whole planning process, as the last thing you want is to finish installing your deck to realise it would have been better suited on the opposite end of your garden.

Understanding where the sun rises and sets in relation to your garden should be a priority. Ideally, you'll want your deck to be in the sun for as long as possible, so learning the sun's path should be one of the first things you do to ensure you're not left in the dark (unless that's what you want).

The next thing to consider when planning your deck is the nature of exit and entry to your home. If you want to utilise existing doors, steps and walkways in your garden then you'll need to plan the design of your deck around these. If not, you may find your deck becomes an awkward feature that doesn't allow you to get around your garden as easy as you first thought. By building your deck to compliment your building, you will create an outdoor space that feels like an extension of your inside, rather than just another exterior structure. 

Planning permission is another crucial element of any deck planning process. In the UK, there are rules around the size of your deck in relation to the size of your building and garden. For example, surfaces including decking, are not permitted to cover more than 50% of a property's garden. Therefore, if you are considering installing a deck which does cover a large part of your outdoor space, it is recommended that you discuss your plans with your local authority planning office before you begin your installation. The following situations require planning permission before building a deck:

  • If your deck is installed within 20 metres of highway 
  • If your deck is more than 30mm (1ft) from the ground 
  • If any area of your deck exceeds 3m in height 
  • If your deck would affect the value or privacy of surrounding properties 
  • If the deck is situated within a conservation area or national park or is attached to a listed building

 

The design of your deck

Understanding and knowing what deck design you're going to have is also another crucial element in the planning process. The way in which you're going to use your deck will have an impact on the way the sub-frame is designed and built. Typical deck designs include:

  • Ground-level decks
  • Partially-elevated decks 
  • Elevated decks 
  • Multi-level decks 

If you plan on building your deck for a large number of people, for example at a bar or restaurant, you may need to look at commercial specifications such as fire-retardant-treated sub-frames and deck boards that have high levels of grip or slip-resistance. The direction that you'd like your deck boards to be installed will also dictate how your joists and sub-frame is built. Deck boards with smaller cross-sections will need more joists and greater support.

During the design process, always plan to a deck with is free draining. For suitable water run-off, your deck should be installed on a slight gradient (at least 1 in 80). Install grooved decking down the fall to allow run-oof and ensure the groove ends can drain freely. You may be required to pack out the fascia. Installing deck boards in a particular way, such as a quadrant or checkerboard pattern can hinder drainage resulting in more frequent maintenance requirements.

 

Safety measures 

Safety should always play an important role in the planning of your deck project. Whether it's to do with the type of boards you use, the number of levels you intend to incorporate or how hight from the ground your deck is built. Either way, you should always consider what risks are involved with the finished deck when going through each stage of the planning process. 

One way of increasing the safety levels of your deck whilst contributing to an attractive design is through the addition of balustrades. These can serve several functions, ranging from decorative edging to full-blown safety barriers, particularly on multi-level decks. The height of the balustrade that you add to your deck will again depend on how far the deck surface is off the ground. For lower-level decks up to 600mm from the ground, the height of your balustrade should be 900mm. For higher-level decks that sit over 600mm high, the balustrade height should be 1100mm.

Carefully planning how to incorporate these safety measures is of vital importance. 

 

Ready, set, go

Once you have considered all of the above points, your deck plan should be ready to go. Ensure everything that you need is in place to make your installation go as smoothly as possible. If you require information on how to install your deck, you can visit our installation resources page or watch our video below.

 

Alternatively, you can get in touch with a member of the TimbrTech team if you require more information on how to plan or install your new deck!

Installing a composite deck over a wooden deck

If your wood deck has begun to creak, wobble and rot, the signs are there that you should probably start thinking about getting it replaced. Not only will it start to look bad, but a deck that has surpassed its time can be a major safety hazard. By replacing your wooden deck, you'll be doing yourself and others a huge favour. 

More...

Fitting composite decking

We stock a fantastic range of composite decking products here at TimberTech UK, but that's not all - we also offer a variety of fixings and fittings to help you build your new deck.

All of our deck fitting products are chosen for minimum visibility. After all, you don't want the screws to distract from those gorgeous decking boards!

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Wondering what to do with your leftover composite decking? We've got some ideas to share with you!

Leftover Decking Boards

So you’ve trawled through page after page of designs, picked out the decking of your dreams, and had it installed in your garden. Your dream deck is finally a reality!

But what if you still have decking left over? Off-cuts and the odd unused board are par for the course, but what to do with them? After all, our composite decking is far too good to simply throw away!

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your leftover deck boards.

 

What can I do with my leftover TimberTech decking?

Depending on how much decking you have left at the end of your installation, it's possible to create a variety of stylish, quirky and outright amazing additions to your outdoor space.

Here are a few leftover decking ideas to get you started - please do not attempt any DIY unless you're sure you know what you're doing!

 

Window Box

A simple yet beautiful way to bring some plant life to your new decking area, a window box can be a fantastic addition to your exterior design.

Solid wood window boxes can cost around the £50 mark, even those that are fairly modest in size. It's even possible to find window boxes of less than 2.5 feet in length on sale for as much as £90.

With just a few spare deck boards and a bin bag for inner lining, you can easily create a natural-looking window feature that brightens up your outdoor space. Alternatively, if you have a little more leftover material to play with, you can utilise your leftover boards to make an aesthetically-pleasing planter or flower bed.

 

Bird House

If you're more interested in fauna than flora, why not use your off-cuts to create a home for your feathered garden visitors? A simple bird house can be constructed from just a few bits of leftover decking, and the end result can be surprisingly impressive.

On the other hand, if you do happen to have a little more material left over, why not treat your pooch and make a hand-made dog kennel? After all, doggy digs can be surprisingly expensive, particularly those that are made from wood.

Meanwhile, if you’re really feeling bold and have quite a bit of decking left over, you could even go one step further and make a Wendy house for your child. While this might seem like a rather daunting task - especially if you're a bit of a DIY novice - you may be surprised by what you can achieve with a Google search, a can-do attitude, and a little perseverance.

 

Garden Bench

If you need some furniture for your newly-revamped outdoor space, why not save yourself a little cash and kill two birds with one stone by turning your leftover deck boards into a nice garden bench or outdoor coffee table?

Speaking of garden furniture, a storage box that doubles up as a seating area is a fantastic way to make the most of the materials you have while also saving on space and expense. A chest-like seat or bench can complement your decked area perfectly.

If you're looking for a bit more of a challenge, you could even create a literal deck chair from your leftover decking. Google is filled with inspiring design ideas of just that, proving that – if you’re a dab hand with a drill and a hero with a hacksaw – the decking upcycling options are almost limitless!

 

TimberTech's low-maintenance composite decking is a superb alternative to hardwood and plastic deck boards. Call 029 2080 3756 or use the links below to find out more!

TimberTech Showrooms   Order a Free Decking Sample

So, you’ve finally decided to go ahead and purchase composite decking from one of our stunning decking ranges, congratulations on a very wise investment! However, the decision making doesn’t end there. A host of questions still remain now that you have chosen the flooring option for your outdoor living space. To make things easier for you, we’re going to run through a few things that you may want to consider when building your deck.

Location

The location in your outdoor space where your deck is going to be built may already be determined before making your purchase, however, after deciding to choose our composite decking you may think that your new deck may be better suited within a different position. This could be due to our decking complimenting a certain feature or area in your garden, taking advantage of a specific view or to be more or less exposed to the weather and elements. All of these things may impact the location in where your deck may be built.

Installation

The way in which your new deck is going to be installed is another thing you may need to think about. If you have adequate DIY skills, you may decide that you can save time and money by installation your deck boards yourself. If you don’t possess the skills, however, you may decide to utilise our installation fitting service with our team of professional and friendly deck installers, allowing you to sit back and relax while your dream outdoor living space comes to life.

Design, Size & Shape

The design, size and shape of your new deck will be dependent on the location that you decide to build it. Once a decision has been made on where your deck will be built, you can then proceed with choosing the design. This is something that we can also provide assistance with our deck design inspiration and FREE 3D deck design service. Here you are able to view an array of deck designs, including a range of layouts and patterns and then watch see your design come to life by collaborating with our expert team of CAD designers.

Extras: Balustrades, Lighting & Steps

Basic platform decks are by far the simplest to build and offer a classic, clean appearance. If it’s an eye-catching deck that you’re after however, this is something that you may want to avoid. As a result, a multi-level deck may be the deck for you. If this is the case and your deck now sits higher than a few feet off the ground, a balustrade system and steps may be something worth considering. We offer a variety of balustrade, railing systems and steps that not only provide an extra element of safety but also add a stylish touch to your deck. If you plan on utilising your new outdoor space at all times throughout the day and night, installing deck lights may also be an added benefit, allowing and anyone else to see your beautiful new deck no matter the time.

These aren’t all the things that you need to consider when building your deck, but will definitely go a long way in helping you achieve your dream outdoor living space. If you require any further information or assistance with any of the mentioned points or services, then please do not hesitate to contact us today. Call us on 02920 803 756 or email us at info@timbertechuk.co.uk where a member of our customer service team will be more than happy to help.

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